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Kent Conrad

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Senator Kent Conrad
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Senator Kent Conrad

Gaylord Kent Conrad (born March 12 1948) is a United States senator from North Dakota. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is unique in United States history in being the only person ever to hold two Senate seats on the same day.

Conrad was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he lived for much of his early life. During his childhood he and his family also lived in Tripoli, Libya. He was an orphan and was raised by his grandparents. He attended Roosevelt Elementary and Hughes Junior High and was a 1966 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, like his opposite on the Senate Budget Committee, Chairman Judd Gregg. He went to college at Stanford and received an MBA from George Washington University.

After graduating college, he became an assistant to the North Dakota tax commissioner, who later became his colleague in the Senate, Byron Dorgan. In 1980, Conrad succeeded Dorgan as tax commissioner. He was tax commissioner from 1980 until 1986, when he ran for senate.

In the 1986 election, Conrad defeated the Republican incumbent, Mark Andrews. During the campaign he gave a pledge that he would not run for re-election if the Federal Budget deficit had not fallen by the end of his term. By 1992 it became obvious that this would not be the case, and although polls showed that the electors would have welcomed him going back on his pledge, Conrad considered it binding and stood down. Byron Dorgan won the primary election to succeed him as Democratic candidate.

He got an unusual opportunity to retain his senate position when the other North Dakota senator, long-serving Democrat Quentin N. Burdick died on September 8, 1992. Burdick's widow Jocelyn Birch Burdick was appointed to that seat temporarily, but a special election was needed to fill the rest of the term. As this was not running for re-election, Conrad ran for and secured the Democratic nomination. He won the election and was sworn in December 5, 1992, resigning his other seat the same day. (The first seat was then filled by Dorgan, who was appointed by the governor to fill the seat for the brief interim until he would have been sworn in under normal circumstances.)

Conrad was elected to another full term in 1994 and reelected in 2000. He was chairman of the Senate Budget Committee from 2001 until 2003, and still serves on that committee as the ranking Democrat.

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Preceded by:
Mark Andrews
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from North Dakota
1987-1993
Succeeded by:
Byron Dorgan
Preceded by:
Jocelyn Burdick
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from North Dakota
1993-
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End box Template:ND-FedRep Template:Current U.S Senators

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